On any other morning in the middle of an ice storm, Pam Tucker would be in Columbia County’s Emergency Operations Center directing the county’s response, but a 3 a.m. phone call changed that.
It notified her of the impending birth of her first grandchild.
“Your adrenaline starts pumping,” Tucker said from University Hospital, where she was with her son and daughter-in-law, Andrew and Lauren Smith. “Excitement sets in. Happiness. Your heart pounds a little bit. And worry that the roads are going to be OK for them because they are on the road.”
Tucker was preparing to be at the EOC by 6 a.m. But when a firefighter arrived to take her to work, Tucker said, she had second thoughts.
“I got in the truck and just decided I had to be (at the hospital),” Tucker said, adding that she called Deputy Director Rusty Welsh to fill in. “(Fire department Battalion Chief) Danny Kuhlmann drove me straight to the hospital.” Aria Rose Smith (7 pounds, 11 ounces) was born a little after 2 p.m.
“I have really missed a lot in my life, in the 36 years I’ve done this work,” Tucker said. “ I’ve missed a lot of key things. I’m so happy I’m not having to miss this.”